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Home External hard drives Small Capacity Hard Drives

Compare the Best Small Capacity Hard DrivesDecember 2018

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87

What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique external hard drives rating which considers: 5,400 UK prices • 4,900 expert & user reviews • 1,000 product comparisons • 140 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Save Up To £170 on External Hard Drives View Today's Best Deals
Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
USB Powered
Weight
Hard Drive Capacity
Release Date
#1

84

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 500Gb

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£43.44

Info
150g
Info
500GB
Info
May 2015
The highest scoring small capacity hard drive around, with a good spec.
#2

83

Western Digital WD Elements Portable ‑ 500Gb

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£38.66

Info
230g
Info
500GB
Info
Mar 2017
A top-value but 2 year old 230g external hard drive, with a good spec.
#3

83

Seagate STEA500400

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£39.40

Info
170g
Info
500GB
Info
Jun 2017
A bargain price but 2 year old 170g external hard drive, with a good spec.
#4

80

Seagate STCD500202

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£44.99

Info
150g
Info
500GB
Info
Oct 2016
A staggeringly light weight and top-value USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec.
Save £15
#5

80

Seagate Maxtor M3 ‑ 500Gb

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£34.97

Info
141g
Info
500GB
Info
Mar 2016
A top-value and spectacularly light weight USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec.
#6

79

Seagate 500GB 2.5" USB 3.0

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£47.01

Info
150g
Info
500GB
Info
Jan 2015
A phenomenally cheap but 4 year old 150g external hard drive, with a good spec.
#7

79

iStorage diskAshur 2 ‑ 500Gb

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£158.98

Info
216g
Info
500GB
Info
Apr 2017
A very popular but slightly out of date 216g external hard drive, with a good spec and a fair price.
#9

78

Freecom Classic 3.0 ‑ 500Gb

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£50.19

Info
140g
Info
500GB
Info
Aug 2012
A remarkably light weight and bargain price USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec.
#11

76

Toshiba Canvio Alu ‑ 500Gb

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£38.99

Info
180g
Info
500GB
Info
Apr 2018
A newly released and top-value 180g external hard drive, with a good spec.
#12

76

iStorage diskAshur PRO 2 ‑ 500Gb

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£206.63

Info
225g
Info
500GB
Info
Apr 2017
A good spec but a little out of date 225g external hard drive.
#13

76

Seagate Seagate Wireless Mobile Storage

112 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£88.06

Info
281g
Info
500GB
Info
Jan 2015
This external hard drive has very wifi capacity, a big storage capacity but has a bad battery life. It's a cheap and multi award winning 281g external hard drive, with a good spec.
Save £31
#14

76

Toshiba HDTB405EK3AA

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£39.99

Info
140g
Info
500GB
Info
Feb 2018
A low cost and breathtakingly light weight USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec and the latest technology.
#15

76

iStorage IS‑DG‑256‑250

12 Reviews
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£128.99

Info
176g
Info
250GB
Info
Sep 2015
This external hard drive has a big storage capacity. It's a classic but 3 year old 176g external hard drive, with a good spec.
#20

73

Integral USB 3.0 Portable SSD External Hard Drive ‑ 256GB

58 Reviews
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£108.99

Info
41g
Info
256GB
Info
Sep 2015
A classic but 3 year old USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec and a staggeringly light 41g weight. It has very a fast read/write speed, a big storage capacity and it's really good-looking.

72

iStorage IS‑DP3‑256‑500F ‑ 500Gb

2 Reviews
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£222.50

Info
190g
Info
500GB
Info
Apr 2016
An award winning but 3 year old 190g external hard drive, with a good spec.

72

Western Digital WDBLWE0040JCH‑EESN

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£200.99

Info
2.1kg
Info
2GB
Info
Dec 2015
An ok value for money and 3 year old 2.1kg external hard drive, with a good spec.

72

Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless ‑ 1TB

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£131.24

Info
270g
Info
1GB
Info
Sep 2015
A 3 year old and average value for money 270g external hard drive, with a good spec.

72

G‑Technology G‑DRIVE ev RaW ‑ 500GB

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£235.81

Info
240g
Info
500GB
Info
Jan 2015
A good spec but 4 year old 240g external hard drive.

72

Toshiba Canvio Connect II ‑ 500Gb

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£34.49

Info
165g
Info
500GB
Info
Feb 2016
A good value for money but 3 year old 165g external hard drive, with a good spec.

71

Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless ‑ 2TB

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£160.32

Info
350g
Info
1GB
Info
Sep 2015
An average value for money and 3 year old 350g external hard drive, with a good spec.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QHow is the capacity of hard drives measures?
AModern external hard drives are measured in gigabytes (Gb), which equates to approximately 1,000 megabytes (Mb). A single mp3 takes up about 3-4Mb, while a single picture takes 1-2Mb. Larger capacity drives are measured in terrbytes (Tb), where 1Tb = 1,000Gb.
QWhat security is available for external hard drives?
AMost hard drives lack any serious security options - however some have password protection to only allow authorised access. This can be a software password, or an actual physical keypad on the drive itself. Heavier degrees of security are available - including biometric fingerprint scanners, which will only unlock the data to someone with authorised fingerprints.
QHow are external hard drives powered?
AMost external hard drives are powered via USB, meaning they can be plugged directly into the computer and used from there. However some very large/powerful drives need too much power for USB alone, and will also require am external power supply to function properly.

External Hard Drive Buying Guide

External hard drives are portable and used to backup files and data from your computer, so they’re safeguarded in case of accident or for retrieval at a later date. While Cloud-based backups are being used more and more for backups, external hard drives still have several important benefits compared to online backups:

  • Peace of mind: many people don’t 100% trust the Cloud yet, and having their data stored in some unknown, invisible server somewhere leaves them worried about the long-term safety of their data. External hard drives offer tangible, physical objects to safely backup your files, without having to rely on 3rd-party companies.
  • Backing up and restoring files is far faster, especially with newer models that use USB 3 for transferring data.
  • Data can be retrieved without needing a net connection, making them useful if travelling or if you find yourself somewhere without a solid net connection.
  • High-level security options - such as fingerprint scanners, palm vein scanners and number pads - offer vastly increased security and peace of mind when storing very important files. Moreover, there is the increased security of being able to physically lock away the hard drives away from prying eyes.
  • Finally, USB hard drives are still one of the best methods for quickly moving very large files between different computers. It is frequently easier (as long as the computers aren’t too far apart) to simply transfer the file to the drive, plug it in to the second computer, and transfer rather than having to deal with slower upload/download speeds from services such as Dropbox.
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Capacity

The main important consideration when choosing an external hard drive is the capacity. This Is a measure of how much data the drive can hold, and is measured in gigabytes (Gb) or terrabytes (Tb) . A gigabyte is 1000 megabytes, and a terabyte is 1000 gigabytes. Our drives range from relatively small portable 120gig drives to enormous 5Tb drives, which can safely hold all the data from multiple machines at once. Generally speaking the higher the capacity the better, but it does depend on what you’re going to be backing up. If you only use your computer to store documents, low-res photos and the like, a 2-500 gig drive should be enough. On the other hand, large capacity drives are useful for storing RAW photos, video editing or Photoshop files.

Size & Portability

Hand in hand with the capacity of the drive is its size. Generally speaking, the larger the capacity of a drive, the bigger it is. Small-capacity drives are extremely portable, being no larger than a mobile phone, so can be transported very easily. On the other end of the scale, the very large capacity drives are not meant to be portable, and usually sit in or under your desk as a safe deposit for all your data. Portability and weight will only become a real issue when choosing the very high-capacity drives, but it is worth paying attention to if you plan on transporting the drive frequently.

Read/Write Speeds

Read & write speeds measure how quickly data can be written from & to the external hard drive. This is measures in bytes per second - the higher the speed, the faster large files (such as movies) will be transferred onto or from the drive. The read-write speeds are also affected by the USB version supported - USB 3.0 supported drives allow far higher transfer rates than USB 2 drives, so it is worth seeking out the newest drive you can for the fastest data transfer speeds.

Power

On the subject of USBs, external hard drives are powered by 2 main methods: via USB or externally power lead. Smaller drives will be powered via USB - this means that the same lead that transfers the data also powers the device. This means no battery, no extra leads, and they are far more portable. Larger drives may be so big and powerful that USB alone can’t provide enough power - in which case they may need an external power connection to properly function. This means that extra consideration has to be made for a spare power socket and the required leads - making them less use when on the go.

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Extras

Finally, there are a wealth of extras that can be found in more advanced models of external hard drives. Some of these may only be useful in specific situations, and you will usually pay more for them, but the utility may well be worth the extra cost. Some examples of extra features include:

  • Integrated card reader: a built in card reader in the drive allows the device to also read/write to SD cards.
  • Fingerprint scanner: an optical fingerprint scanner drastically increases the security of your device, by meaning only specific fingerprints can unlock the device and access the files. For even greater security, a ‘palm vein’ scanner detects the blood pumping through the unique arrangement of veins in your hand, meaning that the scanner cannot be fooled by severed fingers - the owner has to be there in person and alive.
  • Ruggedized outer layer: for those who frequently take drives outdoors or in harsh conditions, a hefty rubber or metal basing protects the device from damage, keeping your files intact through even the worst conditions.

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